While no doubt iconic, halftracks were overall much rarer in reality than in German propaganda movies and pictures. Nowhere was this as pronounced as in North Africa, where the difficult logistics of crossing a hostile Mediterranean mad these rare beasts indeed. With halftracks restricted to HQ:s or for recon troops, the vast majority of the infantry part of the Panzer divisions moved by whatever trucks, cars or motorcycles they could get their hands on. As far as I can find source, the entire 15th Panzer Division (which I'm using the division markings for) could muster maybe a dozen or so infantry carrying halftracks at best. With so few available they'd be far too valuable to be used for mounted attacks by infantry, a tactic that was adopted by the panzergrenadiers later in the war.
That said, what wargamer has ever restricted themselves to only reasonable additions to their collection? Halftracks look cool, and while far too weakly armoured to be truly scary they can still theoretically cause a headache in a game of Chain of Command if your opponent has managed to lose his anti-vehicle weaponry or even worse, left it at home.
My halftrack Zug represents a recon team, zooming through the desert in search of the opposition. The actual models are from Shirty, who handed them to me far to long ago, asking me to paint them. The short one is a Sd Kfz 250, just big enough to fit the driver and MG gunner as well as a single LMG team. It's a resin model from Blitzkrieg Miniatures with crew from Perry Miniatures.
It's flanked by two Sd Kfz 251, bigger vehicles that can fit an entire section (2 crew plus ten men) if they are squeezed real tight. The models are plastic kits from Warlord GAmes. I used some random stowage to keep them from looking identical.
It's a mixed feeling painting the crew for hours... only to squeeze them into a small space, where you barely can see most of them! That said, I really like how they turned out, and it gives the vehicle a ton of character. I can really see myself field these guys, no matter how bad they might be on the tabletop.
The vehicle was given a basic coat with an airbrush, and then washed, highlighted by brush and finally given some streaks and grime using streaking effects, a kind of thick enamel wash. It works great for giving desert vehicles a bit of character. Putting decals on helmets is another great way to give that extra detail that pulls your eyes to a model and make you want to explore it.
The bigger vehicles might not have as exciting a crew, but I think they'll look real nice on a table. The fit of the MG in the gun shield is so snug that the crew is actually not glued in place. I did an attempt at using pigment powder to create sand, but it didn't really pay off. I tried to use pigment fixer, but it mostly had the effect of eating through both varnish, paint and primer on the places where I put it on too thickly! Take that as a fair warning.
With trucks and halftracks in place, our DAK Germans are ready to launch overconfident flank attacks all over the desert. Now we just need some tanks...